On your Marks – Rediscovering ‘Harry in Your Pocket’ (US 1973 – 103 mins)

Rediscover ‐ June 29, 2015

A film that used to play regularly on late-night TV but rarely gets screened these days, ‘Harry in Your Pocket’ is a diverting drama of how pickpockets and their crew operate together. While there’s no major plot here, the joy of the film is seeing the cult cast engage in their four-way routines of marking their victims before going in for the ‘kill’.

Seasoned pickpocket Harry Durbin (James Coburn) and his aging friend Casey (Walter Pidgeon) employ a young couple; Ray and Sandy (Michael Sarrazin and Trish Van Devere) to be the ‘stalls’ in their pickpocket operation. Targeting mainly businessmen in …

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Family Plot – Rediscovering ‘L’Eté Meurtrier’ / ‘One Deadly Summer’ (France 1983 – 133 mins)

Rediscover ‐ June 23, 2015

Long yet involving, the engrossing and unflinching psychological thriller ‘One Deadly Summer’ is a terrific tale of human emotions and revenge. It’s also one of those rare movies that can linger in the mind long after the credits have rolled.

After moving to a small village in the South of France, beautiful Elle (Isabelle Adjani) is soon turning heads in the community with her free-spirited ways. She catches the eye of a local mechanic known as Pin-Pon (Alain Souchon) who is unaware that Elle is plotting to avenge the rape of her mother 19 years ago by three men, one of …

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Going Underground – Rediscovering ‘Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous’ (US 1985 – 121 mins)

Rediscover ‐ June 19, 2015

In my teens I was never into the extensive supply of explosive action movies. Watching the antics of Van Damme or Segal didn’t really appeal to me. A handful that I did enjoy were Schwarzenegger’s ‘Terminator’ (’84) and the high-rise favourite ‘Die Hard’ (’88). But another movie that grew to be a guilty pleasure was the 1985 comic book actioner ‘Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous’, an enjoyable adventure with its tongue firmly resting in its cheek.

After having his death faked, New York cop Ed Makin (Fred Ward) is reluctantly recruited by a mysterious government organization to act as their assassin, and …

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Twisted Firestarters – Rediscovering ‘Bug’ (US 1975 – 99 mins)

Rediscover ‐ June 14, 2015

The Seventies was the busiest time for killer creature movies, churning out such ‘classics’ as ‘Grizzly’, ‘The Food of the Gods’ (both ’76) and ‘Kingdom of the Spiders’ (’77). In fact there were countless of them, many involving insects such as the intelligent ant-fest ‘Phase IV’ (’74) and the star-laden dud ‘The Swarm’ (’78). Another insect offering was the mild but engaging little flick ‘Bug’, an entertaining and rather well-made schlock-fest.

After a minor earthquake awakens some long-dormant beetle-like bugs, they are soon causing mysterious deaths due to their special antennae which, when coming into contact with man or machine, …

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Flirts, Free-spirits & Frontier Women – Remembering Janice Rule (1931 – 2003)

Remember ‐ June 08, 2015

A classy and attractive lady with Broadway experience, Janice Rule was a multitalented actress who could easily switch from playing strong or emotional ladies to wayward women, and even showed a knack for comedy. A force to be reckoned with she always had strict control of her career, even if it meant upsetting the studios.

Born in Ohio on August 15th 1931, Janice’s early years were spent as a dancer before she made her screen debut in the 1951 Joan Crawford drama ‘Goodbye, My Fancy’. Supporting parts followed with the minor Doris Day musical ‘Starlift’ (’51) and the watchable war picture …

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Turning the Tables – Rediscovering ‘The House on Telegraph Hill’ (US 1951 – 93 mins)

Rediscover ‐ June 01, 2015

The use of flashback storytelling in movies is not one that gets used a lot these days, but back in the 1940’s and 50’s this style of filmmaking was quite popular, especially in the noir and thriller genres. Of course ‘Citizen Kane’ (’41) may be the most famous flashback movie of all, while Otto Preminger’s ‘Laura’ (’44) remains one of my favourites. But another movie that used this style well was the San Francisco set melodrama ‘The House on Telegraph Hill’, a compelling tale of deception and murder.

Widowed concentration camp inmate Victoria Kopwelska (Valentina Cortese) dreams of a new life …

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The Witching Hour – Rediscovering ‘Satan’s Slave’ (UK 1976 – 86 mins)

Rediscover ‐ May 28, 2015

Cult British director Norman J. Warren made a handful of low budget sci-fi horrors in the early 1980’s, including ‘Prey’ and the ‘Alien’ rip-off ‘Inseminoid’ (both ’81). Back in the 70’s however, he made a couple of pretty good witch related flicks; ‘Terror’ (’78) and the entertaining Devil cult offering ‘Satan’s Slave’ (’76), a sleazy chiller that’s ideal for a late night viewing.

After her parents are killed in a mysterious car crash, young Catherine Yorke (Candace Glendenning) is sent to live with her oddball Uncle; Alexander (Michael Gough) at his rambling country estate. Catherine later discovers that Alexander is in …

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Entertaining Eccentrics – May Hallatt (1876–1969)

Rewind ‐ May 25, 2015

Cheery and diminutive, the British actress May Hallatt only appeared in a handful of prominent movies in her thirty year career, but she managed to create some memorable characters along the way. A versatile actress with stage experience she could be spotted in some notable box office favourites as well as works by such eminent writers, including Dickens, Jane Austen and Mark Twain.

Born Marie Effie Hullatt in Scarborough, England, on May 1st 1876, May Hallatt made her screen debut in 1934, although her first role of note came five years later when she played the wife of Wilfred Hyde-White’s Lord …

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Harlem Scuffle – Rediscovering ‘Across 110th Street’ (US 1972 – 102 mins)

Rediscover ‐ May 21, 2015

Made at the beginning of the Blaxploitation era, the tough and very violent crime flick ‘Across 110th Street’ is an exciting New York drama with a gritty realism and an above average cast, all of whom look like they could explode at any time.

When the Mafia and other assorted hoods band together to track down the three low-life’s who killed and then made off with $300,000 of the Mafia’s money, two mis-matched cops are determined to catch the killers before the vengeful mobsters get hold of them.

One of the best things about this explosive drama is the casting of two …

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Floral Foul Play – Rediscovering ‘Moss Rose’ (US 1947 – 81 mins)

Rediscover ‐ May 18, 2015

The rather obscure and quietly engaging little thriller ‘Moss Rose’ was another one of those popular and largely studio-bound 1940’s chillers that Twentieth Century Fox was adept at producing. Like much of their other output that included ‘I Wake up Screaming’ (’41) and ‘The Lodger’ (’44), these movies benefited from having brief build-ups and a less than 90 minute running time.

Here the setting is Victorian London, and after witnessing him leaving her friend Daisy’s home shortly before discovering her dead body, chorus girl Belle Adair (Peggy Cummins) blackmails the wealthy gentleman; Michael Drego (Victor Mature) into allowing her into his …

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